• High-performance programming
• C++ programming
• Bayesian methods
• Databases and data models
• System architecture
Databases and data models
Lourens studied Computer Science at the University of Twente in The Netherlands, where he received an MSc (Hons.) in Databases and Information Systems in 2007.
He then joined the Computational Geo-Ecology group of the University of Amsterdam as a scientific programmer on the NDFF-EocGRID project (Part of the Virtual Laboratory for e-Science programme). Lourens led the design of the data model and system architecture of the Dutch National Database of Flora and Fauna (NDFF). The NDFF is a repository for species observations that is now used by volunteer and professional observers to record their observations, by governments to ensure compliance with EU nature protection directives, by scientists for species distribution modelling, and by companies operating in the Dutch landscape to assess potential risks to nature at a time when they can still be easily and inexpensively mitigated.
Following this, Lourens continued at UvA as a PhD candidate in Computational Geo-Ecology, working on the incorporation of dispersal limitations into species distribution models, and fitting such models to observation data using Bayesian techniques. He also worked with colleagues on processing high-resolution global forest cover data into statistics on forest loss and fragmentation, with the goal of investigating at which scales ecosystem services are most affected by these changes.
While working on these projects, Lourens discovered a love for the methodological and technical aspects of doing research, and in February 2016 he joined the eScience Center.